Fuel saving devices

The Competition Bureau is warning consumers to beware of false claims from marketers of so-called fuel-saving devices.

In fact, the bureau has yet to find any fuel-saving device that lives up to its claims.

Many of these products claim to improve fuel efficiency, reduce harmful emissions and reduce engine wear and tear. They typically attach to the engine or gas line, or they may be fuel additives.

Similarly, the Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S. evaluated over a hundred alleged gas-saving devices and found that not even one significantly improved gas mileage.

Some actually damaged car engines or caused substantial increases in exhaust emissions.

In recent years, the Competition Bureau has taken action against three companies, fining them and essentially shutting them down. They include products called like Econopro, the Platinum Vapour Injector and the Fuel Saver Pro.

When we looked online today we found the Fuel Saver Pro still being marketed with a claim that it can increase your gas mileage by upwards of 27 per cent. But this time it's being sold in England -- not Canada.

So be skeptical of claims of significant fuel savings that include overly enthusiastic testimonials and even claims of government approval.

When it comes to any fuel saving device you need to use caution and common sense.

Stretching your food dollar

Food prices have hit the highest annual increase in almost 20 years -- and they're expected to go even higher. Here are some insider tips on how to spot real bargains and keep your grocery bill under control.

A supermarket flier can be a good starting point for bargains, but Tod Marks of Consumer Reports says you have to know how to spot genuine sale items.

He says while supermarket fliers are powerful selling tools, you have to be weary about what they are advertising.

"The items featured prominently on the front page are almost always on sale, but you've got to be really careful about the prices of goods on the interior pages," he warned.

"That's because manufacturers sometimes simply pay for the privilege of advertising -- and there's no sale price involved."

Here's how to navigate to save: Don't assume items at the end of aisles are always on sale. They're put there to get shoppers to buy more of them.

And while single-serving packages are usually more expensive, keep in mind that buying bigger quantities isn't always cheaper.

In fact, a study showed that 25 per cent of the time, the smaller size actually cost less.

Let's take tuna fish for example. The larger size cost $5.05 a pound, but the smaller size actually cost only $4.25 cents a pound.

And depending on where you find an item, it can cost more or less. For example, cheese at the deli counter might be pricier than cheese in the dairy case one-week, then less expensive the next.

"You'll almost always pay more for convenience," said Marks.

For example, Marks showed CTV a watermelon that costs 99 cents a pound, versus $2.99 for the previously already cut variety.

Try to use a preferred-shopper store card in order to get discounts automatically, no coupons needed. With the cost of food going up and up and up, a little extra effort could take your food dollars a lot further.

Stores often have savings coupons right in the aisles ready for the taking -- that can save you money in addition to sale prices or discounts for cardholders.

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Chris Olsen